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Irish Aid making a difference in the Kabwe region - Zambia

Irish Aid making a difference in the Kabwe region - Zambia

Bóthar is currently in the middle of a three-year Irish Aid funded project in Kabwe, Zambia, trying to raise farmers from vulnerability to economic resiliance.

“After a lengthy visit to the project, I can report that real progress is being made in Kabwe, where families who were struggling with life-threatening poverty have been brought back from the brink of despair.

One of biggest hurdles that needed to be overcome was the culture of the entire community. Before the programme began there was huge gender imbalance and women were not respected in the community, but through education and training this has been greatly reversed. Women are actively participating in the project and they are the primary beneficiaries of livestock. Changes in gender relations, decision-making and resources control means an increase in the status of women.

By next year it is hoped that at least 80% of the 800 participating households will have attained food security through improved access to animal protein and food crops. It is also hoped that at least 80% of the
800 households will have increased income by at least 50% through the sale of agricultural products subsequently creating strong links with agricultural support institutions for the development of sustainable microenterprises. It is further hoped that at least 80% of the participating communities will have improved capacity and gender relations.

In addition to these positives, the local government has indicated that it will build modern milk collection centres, a clear sign that it also recognises the impact of the project on these communities and is willing to build infrastructure that will enhance milk production and also create employment for its citizens on a long term basis.

Also visiting the project was the Irish Ambassador to Zambia, His Excellency Finbar O’Brien, who was very happy with the progress being made in the region. "I had the opportunity to visit the project and meet with the small holder farmers who are benefitting from it. I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of the farmers and by their stories of how their lives had changed as a result of having improved livestock.

“The dairy cows themselves were very healthy and the farmers were proud to be able to explain how they cared for these precious animals and how the project had supported them with training and veterinary advice.

“As the project expands, the storage and marketing of milk will continue to improve and these farmers are confident that this project will make a sustainable impact on their communities."

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